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I need some mixing advice

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:41 am
by Jay200MPH
Hi guys!

So in June I released this track (bmx) which overall I'm really happy with. However, I know it has mixing & mastering problems and going by some of the comments I've gotten, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Unfortunately I'm not really sure how to put the flaws I hear into words. It seems a bit "muddy" to me and the kickdrum gets lost. I more or less did the final mixdown by trial and error until I got it sort-of right.

Afterwards I took a short break from music-making to move myself overseas but I've finally gotten my studio more or less set up again. I'm wondering if any of you can give me some ideas on what I did wrong in 'Eddie' and how to sort it out a little better? I probably won't be remixing it just yet but some advice I could apply to the new tracks I'm working on would really help.


Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:45 pm
by mridlen
if the kick drum is lost, try using sidechain compression

Kick -> automaton mkII (set to level) -> ?? (this will produce a muted output, so you can connect it to the next effect)
Bass -> automaton mkII (set to audio) -> next effect

On the level machine, none of the parameters matter except the channel.

On the audio machine, you can set your compression settings. Just be sure the channel matches between the two machines.

Your bassline is probably a little too loud, and you could raise the volume of the kick.

I am digging the 2 Unlimited style you have going on there.

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:35 pm
by Jay200MPH
Thanks for the tip, I'll give that a try... I assume I'll have to make the kick its own machine for that to work? No biggie.

I was going for a really silly, early-90s-on-steroids sort of feel with that song. I think it came through. :mrgreen:

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:54 am
by mridlen
Or you could possibly EQ the high frequencies out before sending the audio on to the level machine.

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:34 pm
by atavic
Nebula by Acustica Audio gives a cheap way to get the sound some home-musicians could crave for.
Just check some of the AlexB Programs and you'll see.

...Nebula can be loaded into BUZZ as VST, has a unique character (emulating hardware consoles and other devices in a pristine way) and the two together give very pleasant results.

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:43 am
by szaszhareen
cool track! it's tough sometimes to clear up the muddiness if you're using a drumloop instead of separate instruments, which gives you more control over the whole mix. i find that adding joachims tethys to the machine playing the drumloop and adjusting slightly the hi/lopass frequencies can help to clean things up. i'd say the drums could be a little louder, compression might help. i usually put a limiter on any 303 that's going to be playing really high squelchy notes and make sure to turn the ceiling down to where it doesn't hurt the ears too much. mixio is a great machine for visually making sure everything is where it should be in the mix.

if you don't want to add a separate kick drum you can still sidechain, just set it up as mentioned above and don't connect the "kick" sound to the master - it should still "duck" the sound of the bass or whatever you're trying to affect.

you can also try bigyo's parametric eq. add it to any sound with low end and roll off the frequency below 100hz or so with a lowshelf, then do the same on the next low end sound and roll off the frequency below 250hz or so and maybe boost the midrange just a bit. this will get sounds in the same frequency range to stay out of each other's way. toy with that a little bit and pan the low sounds to the left or right, this will go a long way towards reducing the muddiness. bigyo's parameq has a sweet graph that makes this pretty easy.

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:23 am
by Jay200MPH
Hey all! Once again, I'd love some comments on my mixing here. This is a little side project I've been working on to deal with some creative block: a full parametric EQ remix/remaster of an Impulse Tracker module I wrote around 10 years ago. I'm still suffering from lack of a proper monitoring setup but I've really tried to get it to sound good on the various speakers & headphones I have available. ... 13-preview

It turned out... eh, I have no idea really? Something still seems *off* about the mixing but I'm having a hard time telling what anymore. I've probably listened to this piece in its various versions thousands of times so maybe I know it too well. At this point I thought I'd throw it out for a test audience - you guys hopefully - so any feedback, positive or negative, is really appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:41 pm
by magmavander
Cool song, very interesting feel and atmosphere. I liked it ;)
About the sounds, it's often a matter of taste.
What I can say (remember, its my taste) is that the volume is a bit low, bass are not enough present. I would like a BIGGER bass. Do you use a kick ? If so, I cant hear it. Maybe you can use an equalizer before the master output (at last a 7 bands eq but 10 bands is better).
The stereo can be wider on the ping/pong panned sounds.

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:17 am
by Jay200MPH
Thanks for the comments! I've been jumping back and forth between the original and this version on different setups, trying to get a handle on how it 'really' sounds. Now I can spot all kinds of little flaws in the source material that I didn't notice before too.

I might change the main bass instrument (which is actually some kind of sampled FM tom played low! - this track was originally written at the height of my oldschool sample-ripping days so I don't know exactly where everything came from.) I think I thinned it out too much. I took off most of the highs to get rid of excess noise and tried to leave it as much as I could in the sub-bass region but I'm not sure that's working.

I think in my quest to EQ all the 'unused' frequencies out of every instrument, I managed to kill a lot of the dynamic range that was in the original - I can hear some of the synth lines were way punchier before I started mucking with them. I'm definitely going to go back to work on that a bit.

There is a kick - from an 808 - but I tried to 'soften' it and bump it out of the way of the sub-bass with eq. I'm not sure I got it exactly right.

This is the first time I've really tried to use parametric eq 'properly' in mastering - definitely a big learning curve!

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:24 pm
by magmavander
I think in my quest to EQ all the 'unused' frequencies out of every instrument, I managed to kill a lot of the dynamic range that was in the original
You dont have to do that I think, are you really sure they are not used? :shock:

Equing is one of the most difficult task in production. First of all trust your ears, it's the best equalizer on earth :mrgreen:
But for the bass you have also an important tool : compression. Compression helps you hear the bass all along a song and helps control the variation of the dynamic of it. Most of actual modern music compress the bass.

And the bass dont like very much panning change while playing. Its often better to center a bass. Panning change makes it disapear when it comes to the center.

Now a thing to think about also is what kind of bass do you want? A smooth rounded bass or a punchier one? In the first case you can lower the high freqs in your bass but if you want the second one dont remove too much these high freqs because the bass will lose its attack and punch.

I know its not obvious but it happens often that it seems that you have too much low freqs for your bass and oh surprise in fact there is too much high/mid freqs. So try, try and try 8-)

A good trick also is to double your bassline with a second one. It's a trick often used by producers. By example you have a good bassline, with a good punch attack but not enough deep. Instead of trying to find the right equing, just add a 2nd bassline (generaly with a lower volume) and with less high freqs and more subs.

Now about the song itself, I have made some test with the internal eq system of VLC and obviously you can get a better sound with a lot more presence by correcting eq and rising the volume a bit. With this you can get very different mood/atmosphere without killing the sound quality. But this, as I said before, depends of what kind of sound and feel you want.

You have a good stereo field in your song, each individual instrument is clearly placed in the mix. Good ;)

Last thing I think it's important is to correct/tweak each instrument while all others are playing, if not it often happens that you have found a great sound for a individual instrument and when you play it with all other it suddenly sucks or seems awful or even disapear in the mix.

Anyway, your mix is not bad but a bit flat and some freqs range are too present or some are missing too much : try to push up the volume without correcting eq and it will saturate/distort very quickly.

Keep on making great music :D

Re: I need some mixing advice

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:24 am
by szaszhareen
epic post magmavaner, good info!

I really like the transitions and flow of this track. I would definitely suggest making the kick drum more present, maybe replacing it with a bigger sounding sample, and/or compressing it and boosting the low/mid range a bit.